The Olivia Rodrigo Drama Continues: Did She Use Joshua Bassett As A Career Move?

Amrit Virdi

If you were looking back on 2021 and someone asked you to name one of the biggest dramas in the world of celebrity culture, the supposed Olivia Rodrigo, Joshua Bassett and Sabrina Carpenter love triangle would probably be one of the first to spring to mind. Upon the release of Joshua Bassett’s latest EP, Amrit Virdi reflects on the situation and the inherent toxicity in fan culture.

We’ve all seen it as a generation growing up on social media. Celebrities gain a diehard fanbase, who will defend their idols to the death, resulting in these fanbases turning on each other whenever there is conflict or drama. This undoubtedly draws attention to the situation, and the latest victims of this are Olivia Rodrigo and Joshua Bassett.

The narrative propelled itself into the media in May 2021, when Olivia Rodrigo released her debut album ‘SOUR’. Coined the ultimate breakup record of the year, it was a smash hit all over the world. Gaining 385 million Spotify streams in its first week, it broke Ariana Grande’s record for ‘thank u, next’ being the biggest opening week for an album by a female artist on the streaming service, an incredible feat conspiring Rodrigo was just 18 at the time and it was her debut.

it seemed as though she was extremely wronged in the relationship

Fans did their digging and came to the conclusion that the ‘lover’ that the Disney star penned these heartbreak anthems about was her High School Musical: The Musical: The Series co-star Joshua Bassett, with the ‘’blonde girl’’ she references in drivers license being Sabrina Carpenter. From the record that Rodrigo provided, it seemed as though she was extremely wronged in the relationship, referencing the apparent betrayal she felt as he moved on quickly, specifically in the tracks traitor and happier.

After Carpenter quickly released ‘her side of the story’ in her single Skin, Bassett has recently added to the ever-evolving narrative. In a June 2021 interview with GQ, he said he’s been ‘’biting [his] tongue,’’ yet his three latest tracks Crisis, Secret and Set Me Free contradict this. It seems as if he is apologetic to Olivia in Set Me Free, yet he doesn’t hold back as he sings ‘’why must I hurt for you to feel okay?’’.

he believes Rodrigo was ‘’messing with [his] life as a career move’’

Secret is even more direct, as he calls out his love interest’s ‘’woe is me’’ act and how they have their own secrets, even referencing ‘’good for you’’, which alludes to Rodrigo’s smash hit single of the same name. Crisis also reveals that Bassett received multiple death threats about the situation, which he woke up to after being hospitalised for septic shock and heart failure. In this song he also expresses ‘’if you get to tell your truth then so do I’’ and that he believes Rodrigo was ‘’messing with [his] life as a career move’’.

Upon the release of that lyric, it got the internet talking about whether Rodrigo’s accusations of Bassett were valid to make back in May, given the nature of trolling and cancel culture nowadays. Many think she did use him as a ‘’career move’’ and capitalised off the situation for fame, knowing that both him and Carpenter would receive hate.

While you may favour one singer more than the other, taking sides in such situations only feeds into the toxicity, and at the end of the day, we as listeners don’t know the full story.

she did what every other artist in the industry does

Furthermore, why must Olivia Rodrigo receive so much hate for writing songs about her breakup, something which male artists do all the time but barely receive any backlash? While the release of ‘SOUR’ did unfairly lead to mounds of hate towards Bassett, especially in a time where he was struck with illness, I think it is also unfair to say that Rodrigo released this just to further her career.

She did what every other artist in the industry does – used art and music to express her honest emotions, which Bassett also did, as he has every right to do. Ultimately, is up to the listeners to take the music for what it is and refrain from getting involved in the drama behind it.

Amrit Virdi

Featured image courtesy of rocor via Flickr. Image license found here. No changes were made to this image.

In-article images courtesy of @joshuatbassett via @instagram.com. No changes were made to these images.

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